Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Knesset Deputy Speaker Yoni Chetboun, foreign military attaches and Jewish World War II veterans and partisans laid wreaths at Yad Vashem on Thursday to mark the 69th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.
May 9 is Victory Day, which commemorates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany. Hundreds of Jewish veterans of the Second World War, many of whom served in the Red Army, attended the ceremony, along with veterans of Great Britain’s Jewish Brigade and underground fighters who fought to expel the British from Mandatory Palestine.
The former fighters, many of whom were bedecked with chests full of medals, stood at attention as the parade of wreaths were laid at Yad Vashem’s Memorial to Jewish Soldiers and Partisans overlooking the Jerusalem Forest.
Landver recalled her own father, who “volunteered for military service and fought against the Nazis” as an officer in the Soviet Army.
The “more than a million-and- a-half Jewish fighters,” including “soldiers and partisans from Europe and North Africa, and tens of thousands” from Mandatory Palestine, went to war against a “cruel enemy,” she said.
“You are the heroes of the war,” she declared. “The State of Israel was established thanks to you.”
“We must remember that the drums of war are still raging,” she added, stating that even today our enemies strive for our “ruin and destruction.”